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Qualcomm Video Friday

Qualcomm Video Friday
by Paul McLellan on 07-19-2013 at 11:30 am

 Two videos (both short) from Qualcomm. They are both amusing but also have a serious aspect to them. The first one is interesting since it is Qualcomm following in Intel’s footsteps with its “Intel Inside” campaign against AMD to make people care about what processor was in their PC. Until that point probably nobody (ok, non-silicon-valley types) could even tell you whether Intel or AMD was the market leader. But the campaign was very successful and made Intel’s brand name one of the most well-known up there with Coke, Google and other companies truly in the consumer space. I bet most people wouldn’t have a clue what the application processor in their smartphone is, except possibly people have heard of A4, A5 etc that Apple built for the iPhones and iPads. It will be fun to see if Qualcomm are successful at making anyone care. But they are obviously investing: this video was shown during the NBA finals, which I’m guessing doesn’t come cheap.

The second video is also about Snapdragon, showing how low-power it is in an interesting…well, you have to watch the video.

One of those phones is getting really hot…55[SUP]o[/SUP]C. I remember in high school chemistry learning that if something was so hot that you could no longer touch it then it was about 60[SUP]o[/SUP]C. So that is a phone that you can’t really hold.

So what is Snapdragon? It is Qualcomm’s integrated base-band and modem processor, almost a single chip phone. It also has WiFi and GPS. You can see from this table from the Linley Mobile Microprocessor Conference (I covered it here) why Qualcomm is the market leader: their chips just have more key capabilities integrated that do not require external helper chips. Snapdragon is actually a family of processors with different capabilities. The Linley table is for the S4 Plus, I believe.

[TABLE] align=”left” class=”cms_table_grid” style=”width: 480px”
|- class=”cms_table_grid_tr”
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” |
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | AP
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | WCDMA
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | LTE
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | WiFi
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | GPS
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | NFC
|- class=”cms_table_grid_tr”
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Qualcomm
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Sampling
|- class=”cms_table_grid_tr”
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Marvell
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | In Qual
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
|- class=”cms_table_grid_tr”
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Broadcom
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Sampling
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
|- class=”cms_table_grid_tr”
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Mediatek
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Licensed
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | N
|- class=”cms_table_grid_tr”
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | nVidia
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | AT&T
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | N
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | N
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | N
|- class=”cms_table_grid_tr”
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Intel
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Y
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | Sampling
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | N
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | N
| class=”cms_table_grid_td” | N
|-

One reason that ST Ericsson has been closed down is that it had a big customer in Nokia. When Nokia switched to Microsoft Windows Phone, ST Ericsson basically lost the account since Windows Phone specifies the Snapdragon family explicitly as the only chipset it runs on. So Nokia became Qualcomm’s account and powered the Nokia Lumia Series. Which hasn’t been doing so well, but that’s another story.

One interesting thing I just thought of is whether Intel’s recently announced LTE modem (I covered that yesterday here) can be moved (or is already in) their FinFET process. Because having really good baseband but not being able to integrate the modem puts you at a disadvantage. Of course Qualcomm have to move their modems to FinFET at TSMC, Samsung and wherever else they are using as foundries, and I’ve heard stories that doing analog in the FinFET world is a challenge.

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